Contenders for the Republican County Commission District 3 seat on Tuesday spoke at the Troup County Republican Party meeting about why they best qualified for the position.
In the order they spoke:
Tripp Foster said his 11 years of experience in the Troup County Fire Department, as well as general fire and EMS knowledge, can be an asset for the safety of the community and he help find ways to improve the ISO rating, which affects insurance costs for residents. He also has operated two small businesses, which he said adds to his experience in being fiscally responsible.
Foster said he was for less politics and more representation of people. He said tax money should be prioritized to essential government services, and though he supports the special-purpose, local-option sales tax because everyone contributes, he said its use needs to be better monitored.
Foster also said he was part of a group exploring how to successfully cut school taxes for seniors while being able to make up the difference. Foster said he wanted to “smash” wasteful spending and make sure government operations are open and transparent.
“I’ve worked in public safety for 25 years, run two businesses and worked in Troup County government,” Foster said. “I feel I am knowledgeable about what it takes to work to make Troup County a better place to work and live.”
Ellen Gimore said she has attended almost all meetings involving the County Commission, including planning and zoning board, for about six years as a private resident. Although she has no prior experience in government, she felt her observations of the commission at work has given her great insight into what it means to be a commissioner. She also has attended and spoken up at meetings where important issues were decided.
Gilmore is opposed to the SPLOST “in principal,” she said. She said part of being a commissioner is having the power to tax and representatives have the right to vote out a commissioner if they disagree with them, but putting a tax issue on the ballot takes away that responsibility.
She criticized the Citizens For the Future of Troup County group, which includes County Commission Chairman Ricky Wolfe, for running what she described as a smear campaign against her and other candidates. She said she has run as an honest and honorable candidate and that the postcards comparing her to President Obama take the campaign away from the issues.
“As government grows and spends more and more, our freedom diminishes,” Gilmore said. “We’re only one generation away from losing it, as Ronald Reagan once said, and if government continues to grow, we will lose our freedom.”